Hazard may have to leave Chelsea to become the best - Puel

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The Belgium international has been heavily linked with Real Madrid and a coach who worked with him at Lille admits he is destined for the top

Eden Hazard is a “top player” but may have to leave Chelsea for one of the “great teams in Europe” to become the best, says Claude Puel.

The Belgium international is widely considered to be one of the finest talents in world football, but he currently occupies a standing just below the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ballon d’Or success has been mooted for the 27-year-old at some stage, but so too has a big-money move away from Stamford Bridge.

Hazard has remained coy regarding his future plans, with hints at contract extensions dropped amid intense talk of an imminent switch to La Liga giants Real Madrid.

Puel, who worked with the talented playmaker during his time at Lille, feels it may be only a matter of time before such a move is made, with the Leicester boss telling reporters: “He can continue to make progress.

“After, I don’t know if he has to stay at Chelsea or not – is that a problem?

Eden Hazard Chelsea Arsenal 03012018

“He has all the qualities to play for all the great teams in Europe.

“He can make the difference, so for me he is a top player in Europe.”

While a move may be part of Hazard’s future, his present is a Premier League meeting with Puel and Leicester on Saturday.

Stopping an in-form performer will be no easy task for the Foxes, with their manager well aware of the size of the challenge he faces.

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He added on the difficulties faced in trying to contain Hazard: “It’s not possible to mark him because he cannot play just in the same position.

“He is free in the system – he can play on the left, the right, as a striker, or just near a striker where he comes back to take the ball.

“The team is built around Eden because he is a valuable player and their most important player.”

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